The First Nuclear Power Plant

Photo of Three Mile Island, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA, March 28, 1978
Three Mile Island, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA, March 28, 1978

Nuclear power is a destructive force that contains the power to eradicate all life on Earth. However, the original purpose of the power source was targeted at more beneficial causes.

Historically, the first nuclear power plant ever was constructed in 1954, 110 km away from Moscow Russia. Due to the sheer amount of talent required to operate the novel facility, a science town was established beside the area and named Obninsk, a place which would accommodate workers and professionals alike.

The purpose of the plant was to generate sufficient electricity to generate a power grid.

Trained citizens from all over the Soviet Union would make their way to Obninsk, which transformed into a hub of opportunity.

At the end of the second great war, a group known as the Atomic Energy Commission brainstormed for more peaceable uses for the newfound destructive energy that had been unleashed upon the Japanese islands of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A commercial plan was set in motion.

Under the leadership of President Eisenhower, Americans were prepared to use nuclear energy to power its industries through the Atoms for Peace program.

Three Mile Island

President Carter tours Three Mile Island
President Jimmy Carter touring the TMI-2 control room on April 1, 1979

The USA would establish its own nuclear facility in 1958, known as the Shippingport Atomic Powerstation. The facility was planned by the Eisenhower administration and saw peacetime usage for the mass provision of electricity to the power grid of the Pittsburgh area.

Over time, the reactor underwent three core changes to optimize function while Thorium was used in place of Uranium for its more cost-effective nature.

Unfortunately, in 1979, national concerns over the safety of nuclear power plants were raised after a reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania, in what became known as the Three Mile Island accident.

In 1982, after much media controversy, Shippingport facility ceased operations. However, the harnessing of nuclear energy has remained a risky but driving force in modern infrastructure.

CBS News and Walter Cronkite break news of Three Mile Island Accident


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